Russell Simmons, Sean "Puffy" Combs, Dave Mays, Hilary Rosen, Jermaine Dupri and Minister Benjamin Muhammad, organizers of the first national Hip-Hop Summit last June in New York which drew artists, politicians, music executives and religious leaders together under the theme of "Taking Back Responsibility," will hold a West Coast Hip-Hop Summit to address the specific needs of that region and lay the groundwork for the next national Summit in June.
The invitation-only meetings, which will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills on February 14, has already drawn commitments of participation from, Suge Knight, Dr. Dre , radio personality Steve Harvey and Bay area radio personality Davey D, as well as many of the key hip-hop artists, music executives and activists in the area. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, will deliver the keynote address that morning. Minister Farrakhan delivered the keynote address at the first Hip-Hop Summit last June, to very positive feedback.
The Los Angeles meetings will focus on the following areas:
1. Political Empowerment: Mario Velasquez, Executive Director of "Rap The Vote," will present national plans for hip-hop mobilization of millions of voters for the 2002 elections.
2. Hip-Hop Responds to Federal Regulatory Agencies: Through the efforts of the HHSAN, strategies will be developed at the meetings to address attempts by federal regulatory agencies to censor hip-hop. In particular, Minister Benjamin will announce plans to support the recently filed suit against the FCC by spoken word artist Sarah Jones. Representatives of the HHSAN met with the Chairmen of both the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission in the fall of 2001, specifically to address the federal regulatory agencies infringement on the first amendment. "We intend to fight for our first amendment rights of freedom of artistic expression," commented Minister Benjamin.
3. Economic Empowerment: The leaders of the multi-billion-dollar hip-hop industry will also focus on grass roots initiatives and strategies to economically empower the impoverished communities in the urban centers of America. In particular, some of the West Coast hip-hop artists are promoting the establishment of a hip-hop coalition to strengthen the economic opportunity afforded artists and the necessity for more programs that insure artist career longevity.
4. The Success of Parental Advisory Labeling: The RIAA has reported that, in the last year, there has been a significant increase in Parental Advisory Labeling on music and music videos that have explicit content, including internet sites, as well as CD and DVD jacket covers.
Opening remarks will be made by Suge Knight, Dr. Dre and Steve Harvey.
Moderator for the meetings will be Hip-Hop Summit Action Network President Minister Benjamin Muhammad. Following Minister Farrakhan's keynote address will be a closed door luncheon.